The Los Angeles Clippers ended the Phoenix Suns' seven-game win streak with a 113-103 home victory on Thursday at Staples Center.
Paul George scored 11 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and made 7-of-9 three-pointers along the way. His efforts helped turn a 83-81 Clippers lead after three quarters into a 10-point win.
Kawhi Leonard scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to guide the 35-18 Clippers, who have won three straight and now sit third in the Western Conference.
Devin Booker's 24 points paced the Suns, who went just 6-of-24 from three-point range. Mikal Bridges added 20 points, and Deandre Ayton contributed an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The 36-15 Suns now sit 2.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for first in the West.
Clippers F Paul George: 33 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Clippers F Kawhi Leonard: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Clippers G Rajon Rondo: 15 points, 9 assists
Clippers F Marcus Morris: 8 points, 6 rebounds
Suns SG Devin Booker: 24 points
Suns F Mikal Bridges: 20 points, 5 rebounds
Suns C Deandre Ayton: 18 points, 10 rebounds
Suns PG Chris Paul: 13 points, 7 rebounds
Clippers Go Full Circle in Win
George carried the Clips in the first half, and Leonard took care of business in the third quarter.
The second unit's scorching fourth-quarter start gave the Clips a 10-point lead, and George then took over once again to lead L.A. to victory.
It was all PG-13 in the first two quarters, as he finished with one-third of the Clippers' 54 first-half points.
George scored his 18th point with 5:32 remaining in the second quarter after nailing a three-pointer to put L.A. up 45-39. He dominated from beyond the arc, notably getting hot from the right corner:
On the flip side, it was not a good first half for Leonard, who found himself with more turnovers (three) than points (two) late in the second quarter. He did nail a pair of threes to finish his first half, including this one to end the frame:
It was all Leonard in the third quarter, though, as he scored 14 points, 12 of which came within a 4:38 span. He also put Ayton on a poster during that time frame:
Leonard's work allowed L.A. to go up two going into the fourth quarter.
From there, George and the Clippers' second unit helped put the game away, opening the final 12 minutes on a 10-2 run.
New Clipper point guard Rajon Rondo hit a three, and Patrick Patterson did as well. George added a pair of steals, and L.A. was on its way to a win.
But the Suns were given life after Clippers guard Patrick Beverley was assessed a flagrant foul on Paul and was ejected from the game.
Paul hit his flagrant free throws and then nailed a two-pointer on the ensuing possession to make the score 93-89 in L.A.'s favor.
However, it was George who took over down the stretch, as he scored eight points in a 10-0 run to salt the game away.
Nothing Goes Right for Phoenix in Poor 4th Quarter
The Suns had only one field goal through the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and three until the final minute, which served as garbage time.
Phoenix also committed four turnovers and scored just eight points in the first eight minutes.
The other end was disastrous, as the Clippers had no answers for George, Leonard or a Rondo-led second unit that excelled down the stretch. L.A. simply played great team basketball, perhaps best exemplified by the ball movement that led to this Leonard bucket:
George getting hot didn't help matters, either. He was untouchable at times, like when he drained a three-pointer with the 6'11" Ayton in his face:
It's an unideal performance for the Suns, who entered Thursday as winners of seven straight, especially against a Clippers team that it may face in the playoffs.
The Suns also lost a game in the standings to the first-place Jazz, who beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.
However, 12 poor minutes certainly don't signify that the sky is falling. Phoenix is having an exemplary season and could very well get hot and start a new winning streak when it takes the court again.
L.A. will stay home to face the Houston Rockets on Friday at 10 p.m. ET. The Suns will return home to host the Washington Wizards on Saturday at 10 p.m. in Phoenix Suns Arena.